FROM THE LIBRARY OF REV. LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON. D. D. BEQUEATHED BY H*M TO THE LIBRARY OF PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY 1/ v / POEMS Subjects in tfje ©to Testament PART I. GENESIS— EXODUS. C. F. A., AUTHOR OP "llTMNS FOR L1TTLK CHILDREN," "MOBAt SONG*," RTC. LONDON: JOSEPH MASTERS, ALDERSGATE STREET, AND NEW BOND STREET. MDCCCLIV. London: printed by joseph masters and co., aldersgate street. MY DEAR FATHER, FROM WHOSE POETICAL TASTE I MIGHT FEAR A MORE SE- VERE JUDGMENT THAN I FEEL HIS AFFECTIONATE PARTIALITY WILL AWARD THEM, I DEDICATE THESE POEMS. C. F. Alexander. Derg Lodge, February, 1854. PREFACE. The children of the Church in this day are ex- posed to a peculiar danger. At the season of life, when the reason is most liable to be coloured by the imagination, they meet with abundance of religious poetry, which, with much that is beauti- ful and holy, intermingles not a little that is inconsistent with the fulness of Christian truth which our Church exhibits. The writer's wish then would be to prolong the child's love of the glorious Old Testament stories, by throwing round them something of the poetical tinge which is attractive to almost every mind in opening youth ; and thus to connect associations of quiet pleasure with the examples of holy life, VI PREFACE, and the doctrines of saving truth, which the Bible contains in such exceeding abundance. And because so much of our religious poetry possesses the tendencies to which allusion has been made ; she has desired to view every moral or doctrinal lesson, as a mind, trained in the good old ways of our English Church, might be supposed to con- template it. Her aim, in short, has been, to pro- duce a collection of short poems for young persons from twelve, to fifteen, or sixteen years of age, which might in some measure improve their taste while they increased their love of Scripture ; and which should on the whole leave such an impres- sion, as our Church seems to wish, of the Christian life and character. That this design is imperfectly executed, she is painfully aware ; but such as it is she prays the great Head of the Church to pardon and bless it. It may be well to add that this little volume is the first of a series, which, if it please God to bless the attempt, is meant to extend through the his- torical books of the Old Testament. POEMS ON Cije Creation. "Thus the Heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them." — Gen. ii. 1. Young heart, impatient of thy powers, Why wilt thou fret to know That knowledge comes with weary hours, And heavy step, and slow ? That each thing great in its degree In toil and care begins, And no perfection here may be But that which labour wins ? B Perchance 'twas writ to do thee shame, That He Whom angels praise Paused o'er His fair creation's frame, And lingered six long days. His word at once had hung them there, Planet, and star, and sun ; — Perchance to teach thee patient care, He made them one by one. Think how the great world silent lay, A void and formless place, God's Spirit brooding far away Over the water's face, — Till bursting on that darkness wide The glorious light had birth, And in her beauty and her pride, He made the fair young earth. Three days she hung all cold and still, Wrapp'd in that sunless light, No golden lustre on the hill, No silver moon at night. God made the sun, and in his ray Sprang flowers by stream and meadow, On all her heights the sunlight lay, And on her sward, the shadow. — The graceful moonbeams touched her sod With slanting silver bars, " Shouted for joy the sons of God, And sang the morning stars." Slowly He wrought, and duly set All things above, below ; — Wilt thou, His creature, chide and fret If thine advance be slow ? Patience, and zeal, and toil He asks — Then let thine heart be strong, Nor weary of thy lowly tasks, Because the time is long. II. (tBiitn. "And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden." — Gen. ii. 8. Where is that garden of the Lord God planted Eastward in Eden in the days of old, Where the large blossoms and the fruits enchanted That filled the earliest tale our mothers told ? Lingers it yet, kept by an Angel warden, Over the purple mountains far away — Untouched, since sinless Adam dressed the garden, And the Lord walked there in the cool of day ? Nay, ask not— wherefore should our spirits venture Over the eastern hills — beyond the bars, Where the broad sun girt with his rosy cincture Comes burning up, and darkens all the stars ? Why should we wish o'er sea and desert going To find the vision true in some far land, To dwell beside the gate — and hear the flowing Of the great river with its golden sand ? The font stands yet in many a church's portal, The prayers still echo round where we were made Heirs of an Eden beautiful, immortal, Where never serpent glided through the glade. There flows eternally the gifted river, Whose healing wave is as the crystal clear, There grows the tree of life that sheddeth never Its twelve bright fruits renewed twelve times a year. For us that cooling wave, for us the beauty Of that bright place that has nor sun, nor night, If but by Christ's dear grace, in love and duty, We walk below like children of the light. So may we dream of those invisible bowers, The water's tremulous flow, the flowery sod, Hopeful that Christ's new Eden shall be ours, The home of saints, the Paradise of God. III. Cfje Ccmptatum. " She took of the fruit thereof, and did eat." — Gen. iii. 6. — f 'then the devil leaveth Him."— S. Matt. iv. 11. It was in God's own garden -bowers, The sweetest spot earth ever knew, Eve met the serpent in the flowers — When soft as drops of honied dew, He poured the poisoned words untrue, That lost this world of ours. He said the golden fruit was good, He showed it pleasant to the eyes, He spake of knowledge by that food To make the daring spirit wise : In the full heart of Paradise, She pluck'd it where she stood. It was a wild unlovely place That fed no trees with fruitage crowned, Nor bore upon its barren face Bright blossoms shedding fragrance round, Where Satan erst the Saviour found Who raised our ruined race. b2 6 In vain His soul with hunger tried He tempted in that lonely hour To make the bread of Heaven denied ; In vain he showed earth's pomp and power, And prompted from the Temple tower The deed of daring pride. Him fleshly lusts might not ensnare, Nor gorgeous pomps with pleasure rife That seem to worldly eyes so fair; He heeded not the pride of life, But rose triumphant in the strife, And bruised the serpent there. Lord, by that threefold promise spoken, O'er the baptismal water bright, And by Thine own dear anguish token, AVe too are pledged to that stern fight. Look on us, help us with Thy might, Nor let our vows be broken. In all our paths the tempter strays, For each a separate snare he knows, The Eden of our happy days — The desert of our lonely woes — Thou that hast fought, and foiled our foes, Lead us in all our ways ! IV. Cain anfc SbeL "And she conceived and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord ; and she again bare his brother Abel. .... Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him„' T — Gen. iv. 1, 2, 8. Deem not thine heart by household loves So duly filled, and guarded well, That wrath, and strife, and cruel hate, Shall never reach its charmed cell. Had ever earth a safer nook, Where love might hope to weave a crown Of flowers untouched by envy's breath, Nor by fierce passion trampled down ; Than where in Eve's maternal bower, Two boys in rosy childhood lay, Learned love's first lesson from her eyes, And clasped her vesture in their play ? The first two babes that ever watched The round sun rise 'twixt awe and mirth, The first whose laughter ever waked The echoes of this great old earth. Each dwelling in a world apart, That had no creature but the other, To share his sport or know his thought, And learning first the name of brother. 8 Alas ! full soon the red earth heard The brother's blood that cried to Heaven, And bore upon her shuddering breast The outcast from God's presence driven. Guard well thy spirit's inmost cell, Lest, when sweet love makes music there, Some little envious thought creep in, Untuning all its concord rare. And ask of Him on bended knee Whose love surpasseth brother's love, "Whose Spirit rilling all thy heart, Is tender as a brooding dove; That close He draw, and closer still, Each chord that kindred love endears, Nor let the strain thy childhood loved Forget to charm in after years. V. <£norf). " And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him." — Gen. v. 24. Hast thou not seen at break of day One only star the east adorning That never set, or paled its ray, But seemed to sink at once away Into the light of morning ? 9 From it, the sage no portent drew, It came to light no meteor fires, But silver shone the whole night through On hawthorn hedges steeped in dew, And quiet village spires. Like him of old who dwelt beneath The tents of patriarchal story, Who passed without the touch of death, Without dim eye, or failing breath, At once into God's glory : — The Patriarch of one simple spot, The sire of sons, and daughters lowly, And this the record of his lot, M He walked with God, and he was not," For the Lord took him wholly. Like a child's voice in sacred song That trembling rises high and higher, Till lost at last, it peals along, Swelling the anthem sweet and strong Of great cathedral choir: — So year by year, and day by day In pastoral care, and household duty, He walked with God— -nor knew decay, But faded gently, rapt away Into His glorious beauty. 10 There's many a household fair to see By woodland nook, or running river, Where children climb the parent's knee- O, that those homes like his might be Filled with God's presence ever! O, that our thoughts so heavenly were, Our hearts to Christ so fully given, That all our loves, and toil, and care, Might only lead us nearer there, Where He is set in Heaven. VI. Clje £rfe. " And the ark went upon the face of the waters." — Gen. vii. 18. Strange thoughts are thine, mysterious ark! A dreary path, a weary motion, A sound of waters falling dark, And all the world one shoreless ocean. Strange ship ! — upon a marvellous sea, Without or helm, or compass driven, Fraught with a wondrous company, And lonely as the moon in Heaven. 11 Still rocking to a restless force Of endless endless surges swelling, Upborne along thy silent course Above high hill, and human dwelling, Above the place where year by year Still toiled at his prophetic labour Unmoved by taunts the faithful seer; While sounds of song, and dance, and tabour, From all the mad earth round him came, And laughed in scorn her sons and daughters, Till — reared at last thy mighty frame — There rushed from Heaven th' avenging waters. But more than dread, or warning high, Comes with thy wondrous story blended, Home of the faithful ! when the cry Of guilty earth to God ascended. A precious type to us thou art Of Christ's own Church, the safe and holy, The ark that bears within her heart The weak, and strong, the high, and lowly. And sweeter than thy haven wild Upon the purple mountains lying, When through her tears the young earth smiled, Like babes that laugh amid their crying : 12 O, sweeter far the haven nest Whereto our ark is ever riding, * Though rocking to the world's unrest, And vexed by all her billows chiding. For upward, upward bears she still, And leaves below sin's pain and pleasure, Till, stranded on the Heavenly hill, She yield to Cheist His ransomed treasure. VII. "But the dove — returned unto him into the ark." — Gen. viii. 9. Bird with soft eye, and snowy breast, Whose wild note every echo learns, The first to build thy woodland nest When early spring returns ; Along the frost- bespangled lawn I love thy plaintive strain to hear, At breaking of the April dawn Ere yet the day is clear ; From out the grove where snowdrop bells Spring underneath the leafless arch, And softly fall the rosy shells, That tip the tufted larch. 13 The skylark's song hath more of fire, The thrush a sweeter note than thine, But none of all doth so inspire, The soul with thoughts divine. For art not thou the blessed bird That went forth with the raven dark, When the decreasing waters stirred Around the stranded ark ? He rushed along his own wild track ; Thou, mindful of our human grief, Didst bear the weary prisoners back The hopeful olive leaf. And was not thine the form of love Wherein the Holy Ghost was shed, When breaking from the cloud above He touched the Savioub's Head ? Type of God's grace ! in many a fane We read that image pictured fair, Or traced upon the painted pane, Or carved in marble rare. And in our lowly churches yet, We seem to see those wings outspread When baby brows are duly wet, And holy words are said, c 14 All song is sweet in sky or grove, But for the blessed thoughts it brings Thy soft low murmur most I love, Bird of the silver wings ! VIII. abraljam'S Call. " Get thee out from thy country, and from thy kindred, and come unto the land that I shall show thee."— Acts vii. 5. Forth from his childhood's sunny home At God's command the Patriarch went; O'er burning sands he turned to roam, From where the wild acacia bent Above the well, w T hose waters lent A fairy greenness to the glade Around his father's summer-tent, From wild haunts where his youth had strayed, When on the feathery palm the silver moonlight played. To distant Canaan's fertile clime, First pilgrim to that holy land, Where mailed knights in after time, And warrior kings of many a strand, 15 And many a bold crusading band, Should come from homes beyond the sea, And palmer grey with staff in hand, — A simple herdsman journeyed he, And led his quiet flocks along the desert lea. What though for him, no pastoral nest Lay in those purple hills enisled, Nor spot whereon his foot might rest, Faith's vision on his spirit smiled Of vineyards dressed, and cities piled, Where countless as the bright stars driven, Unnumbered as the sea sand wild, The promised race his God had given, Should hold that favoured land in fief to highest Heaven. For this his pleasant place of birth Where great Euphrates' waters roar, He left — a pilgrim on the earth, A houseless stranger evermore, Nor turned again to that sweet shore, But still to distant Canaan pressed, And passed the burning desert o'er, Type of true faith — who first confessed, He had no country here, but sought a better rest. Christian, that better rest is thine ! The land with milk and honey flowing, The land of Eshcol's purple vine, And Jordan's waters westward going, 16 "Was but a shadow dim, foreshowing, Beyond death's river dark and lone, The jasper wall like crystal glowing, The rainbow round about the throne — Arise-, and hear the call that makes that land thine IX. £ot antt bottom* "And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jor- dan that it was well watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord." — Gen. xiii. 10. By stately Sodom's palace walls The crimson rose is blushing bright, And silver sweet the Jordan falls Beside Gomorrah's marble halls, Where harp, and song, and festal calls Are sounding day and night. And lovely as a garden fair Lies blooming all the enchanted plain ; The purple grapes hang heavy there, The flowers fling out a fragrance rare, And softly wave in perfumed air The fields of golden grain. 17 The river's silver trump has found An answer in the heart of Lot ; The lavish beauty breathing round, And those two sister cities crowned, The queens of that well watered ground, Allure him to the spot. Southward he turns from Abraham's tent — Ah venturous man ! that could not hear Above the river's murmur sent, Above the town's wild merriment, The cry of sin, and shame that went Up to God's patient ear : That dreamed not of the vengeance dire, When those two messengers of Heaven Should call the swift consuming fire, And drag him forth, most wretched sire, From that great city's funeral pyre, In awful mercy driven. O, Christian youth, baptized and blest, God has been merciful to thee, Let not thy soul with sinners rest, Nor make in Sodom's bowers thy nest, Nor choose the fairest, but the best, Thine earthly place to be. The world has songs of Sodom still, And if they needs must vex thy soul, Call God's good angels in to fill c2 18 Thine home, and heart, and turn in will To Abraham on the eternal hill, Ere fires of judgment roll. A greater guest to thee hath come Than stood in Sodom's street by night- Sure when Christ's trump shall break the gloom O'er that salt sea, her people's tomb, For him shall be a heavier doom, Who sins to grace and light. X. gtbraljam'* Sacrifice. " Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt offering, upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of."— Gen. xxii. 2. Stood dark and still Moriah's mountain lone, — God's chosen place amid the heathen land — His altar of imperishable stone, Hewn by no mortal hand ! Stood dark and still the solitary height — Not girded then with palace-wall, and tower, Nor on its purple breast the temple white Laid like a marble flower ! 19 A deep stern silence held the mountain air ; •Nor Canaan's songs, nor Kedron's murmur wild Might reach so high ; there only whispered there The Patriarch, and his child. The roe deer hiding in the thicket near Heard a young voice that said, " I see the fire The knife for sacrifice— the wood is here, Where is the lamb, my sire f Thou that hast taught thine heart o'erfond to twine Round other heart its every living chord, Who canst not take thy treasure from its shrine, And give it to the Lord! And thou, whose wayward spirit will not learn To bear the little yoke that galls thy pride, Who canst not teach thy soul submission stern — Come to this mountain's side ! See faithful Abraham lift his hand to slay The darling of his age, his promised son, See gentle Isaac give his life away Without one murmuring tone. Each high resolve, each shade of self-denial Hath here its type not meaningless, nor weak — The soul that nerves the martyr for his trial — The child's obedience meek. 20 Here too, like murmur of a far off strain, Borne on long echoes through the silent hills, Shall come a shadowing of diviner pain, Till all thy bosom thrills. A thought of Him Who clomb that mountain's face, Bearing "with patient arm the cruel wood, True victim Lamb, true Son of Abraham's race, Who won thee with His Blood ! He of His grace teach us the path to prove That led His saints, and martyrs up to GOD — He give us Abraham's faith, and Isaac's love, And guide us where they trod. XI. Ciji Cab* of iiHacI)peXaIj. " There they buried Abraham, and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah." , — Gen.xlix. 31. Calm is it in the dim cathedral cloister, Where lie the dead all couched in marble rare, Where the shades thicken, and the breath hangs moister Than in the sunlit air. 21 Where the chance ray that makes the carved stone whiter, Tints with a crimson, or a violet light Some pale old Bishop with his staff and mitre, Some stiff crusading knight ! Sweet is it where the little graves fling shadows In the green churchyard, on the shaven grass, And a faint cowslip fragrance from the meadows O'er the low wall doth pass ! More sweet — more calm in that fair valley's bosom The burial place in Ephron's pasture ground, Where the oil-olive shed her snowy blossom, And the red grape was found, When the great pastoral prince with love undying Rose up in anguish from the face of death, And weighed the silver shekels for its buying Before the sons of Heth. Here, when the measure of his days was numbered — Days few, and evil in this vale of tears ! — At Sarah's side the faithful Patriarch slumbered, An old man full of years : Here, holy Isaac, meek of heart and gentle, And the fair maid who came to him from far, And the sad sire who knew all throes parental, And meek-eyed Leah, are ; 22 She rests not here, the beautiful of feature, For whom her Jacob wrought his years twice o'er, And deemed them but as one, for that fair creature, So dear the love he bore ! Nor Israel's son beloved, 1 who brought him sleep- ing With a long pomp of woe to Canaan's shade, Till all the people wondered at the w 7 eeping By the Egyptians made. Like roses from the same tree gathered yearly, And flung together in one vase to keep, — Some but not all who loved so well, and dearly, Lie here in quiet sleep. What though the Moslem mosque be in the valley, Though faithless hands have sealed the sacred cave, And the red Prophet's children shout " El Allah," Over the Hebrew's grave. Yet a day cometh when those white walls shaking Shall give again to light the living dead, And Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, re-awaking Spring from their rocky bed. 1 "And the bones of Joseph buried they in Shechem." — Joshua xxiv. 32. 23 XII. feaac antr J&ebefeal). " And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife." — Gen. xxiv. 67. I read in God's great holy book The tale of Isaac's bridal tent ; And like the murmur of a brook, (That brings to " one in city pent" Gleams of the country far away, Of blossomed orchards in their glory, And clover fields, and scented hay) Were thoughts that came with that sweet story ; — Till I was rapt into a dream Of olden days, and eastern clime, Wherein I saw, (or so did seem) The men of Patriarchal time, The pastoral chiefs who spake with God, The veiled maid, the comely wife, The rich flocks scattered o'er the sod, And all the charms of tented life. The desert's burning breath I felt, I heard the camel's tinkling bell ; And when the faithful servant knelt At even by the city well, 24 I saw his young lord's destined bride— A damsel very fair, and young — Come tripping to the water side, Her pitcher on her shoulder slung. I marked his wonder, as the dew She scattered round the fountain's brink, While in her courteous haste she drew And gave the weary camels drink. I watched what blushes bright and warm To cheek and brow did instant spring, "When on the maiden's delicate arm He hung the heavy golden ring. I saw the feast of welcome spread, While loud he praised his master's Lord ; I heard how well the w 7 ooing sped, How gentle was the kinsman's word, Content — since God had willed it so, That hand and heart the maid hath given, And when she whispered, " I will go," They blessed her with the wealth of heaven. Another eve — and Hebron lay All flooded with a tender light — The last tints of a rosy ray That lingers somewhere out of sight, — What time, the long day's labour done, Came Isaac from the green well-side Out in the quiet fields alone To meditate at eventide. 25 He saw afar the dust uprise, The camel-driver's song he heard ; But who is she that lifts her eyes, Then hides them, like a frightened bird ? A trembling thing with covered face Into his mother's tent he led, And set her there, in Sarah's place, p And loved her, and was comforted. Sure such a tale, so sweet, so fair, Around our hearts should linger long, Familiar as a household air, And soothing as a cradle song. And we may learn of their meek ways, Their trustful faith in heaven above, Their calm of unambitious days, Their simple truth, and modest love. XIII. Iteaac fn tlje dfieltt. ° And Isaac went out to meditate in the fields at eventide. "- Gen. xxiv. 63. The fields are rich with golden corn, The fields are bright with flowers ; How fair the spangled dew of morn, The blossom of the hedgerow thorn, The woodbine in her bowers ! D 26 Full oft our feet have brushed away Those drops of diamond light, Full oft we've plucked the blossomed May And watched the sun's last crimson ray Fade softly into night. What thoughts were ours, and whither sent Beneath the sunset heaven ? Say, were they good, as his who went Forth from his Patriarchal tent To meditate at even ? When, as the light did sudden fade, Above his eastern home, Beside the well for Hagar made, 1 And through the palm tree's feathery shade, He saw Rebekah come. So should our walks a blessing bring Out in the meadows near, And we might meet as fair a thing As she who bore the golden ring, And dried the Patriarch's tear. Some blessed thought might find us there Of what our dear Lord said ; The flowers He made our patterns fair, The harvest field, the birds of air, The green trees overhead. 1 Compare Gen. xxiv. 62 with xvi. H. 27 All, all, as with a living breath, Speak loudly unto us ; For all above us or beneath, He made them types of life, or death, And we should read them thus. XIV. " Esau who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright, for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears."— Heb. xii. 16, 17. Red hunter ! lay the quiver down, And set the winged shaft aside, Nor seek along the mountain brown The covert where the roe-deer hide. Another hand than thine, to-day Shall find thy father's favourite cheer, And Heaven-appointed bear away The blessing that thou fain would'st hear. He kneeleth by the old man's chair In thine own goodly raiment dress'd, And while its fragrance fills the air, Is blessed, and he shall be bless r d. In vain thy bitter cry shall break ! Not all the tears thine eyes can shower, Not all the vows thy lips can make, Shall bring again that one short hour. 28 The birthright of the eldest born, Thou gav'st to soothe a moment's pain, And blessings once despised in scorn, May never, never, come again. O, thou that bear'st the token high Of better birthright lately given, Whose silver cross is scarcely dry, That signed thee for an heir of heaven, The grace of confirmation time Shall come to seal again thy treasure — See that thou give it not for crime, Nor change it for uneasy pleasure. Nor think for childhood's hours mispent, To give to God thine after day, Nor deem that youth to folly lent An age of tears shall wipe away. Thou wilt not have the same young powers, The fresh warm heart that loves and glows ; Who ever saw sweet April flowers Come peeping through December snows ? Red Esau roamed a hunter wild, He wooed the daughters of the land, And while the world around him smiled, •' God's gifts were passing from his hand. 29 He sought in vain with bitter tears, That first best blessing back to win ; Beware, beware, lest future years, Should find no time to shrive thy sin ! XV. $accrb. N Why should I be deprived also of you both in one day ?"- Gen. xxvii. 45. The sunset lies on Isaac's tent, And all the glowing Syrian vale Is flooded with a splendour pale Of gold, and faintest crimson blent. Beside the well the camel waits ; Come slowly home the bleating herds, And night by night, the summer birds Sing sweetly from the shadowy dates. But never more at evening's close The quiet voice Rebekah hears That made a concord to her ears More sweet than any music knows. She marks the shadows falling thick, They darken all the blind man's face, And still she sees an empty place, And still her mother's heart is sick. D2 30 And he that shared her fond deceit, That could not wait th' appointed time, He feels by night the frosty rime, By day, the summer's noontide heat, An exile in another land, And never more his head to rest Upon a mother's patient breast, And never feel her soothing hand. In youth, in age, alike beguiled, So oft deceived for one deceiving, Whose spousal morn was turned to grieving, Who wept for lost his living child. Learn of his sorrow, Christian youth, When tempted sore, when right shall seem To come of wrong, nor ever deem That Heaven has need of thine untruth. Like fountains lost, and traced in vain, That blend at last with ocean blue — Like birds that wander winter through, But find their summer nests again :— God's ways, though dark nor understood, Shall work His righteous will at last. Keep virtue's path', though clouds o'ercast, Nor sin for any seeming good. 31 XVI. 3&atfjeL w And JRachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath." -Gen. xxxv. 19. The graveyard by the river lies, In the heart of the old hills ; Over the graves the sycamore A honey breath distils, And from its top the mountain thrush Breaks out in sudden thrills. About the graves the river runs With a low monotonous fall, Like murmur in a mourner's heart Who sheds no tear at all, But ever maketh to herself A moan continual. It was at crimson sunset time I sat in that quiet place, And watched the shadows wrap the hill * From purple height, to base, Like sorrow darkening silently A happy human face. The yellow furze in lines of light Stood out on its bosom cold, As if the gilded sunset clouds When down the west they rolled 32 Had dropped upon the mountain side A portion of their gold. I sat beside a mother's grave Who had travailed sore, and died — A sun that set when into Heaven One little star did glide — A rose amid its opening buds Cut off in summer's pride. I thought of her whom Jacob toiled In the olden time to win, Who passed away before her arm Had clasped her Benjamin, Where Bethel's haunted plains are passed And Ephrath's fields begin. She died, when joy's full measure throbbed Like a strong pulse in her breast — When once again of baby lips Her bosom should be pressed, And yet another living son Sink on her heart to rest. O, lesson meet for us to learn, With our dreams of earthly joy — Who build our golden hopes so high, And still without alloy, And then they fade, — or we are gone Like Rachel from her boy ! 33 There is one hope that faileth not, For it triumphs o'er the grave ; The Patriarch saw it dimly bright Beyond his burial cave, I read it on that Christian tomb — The life that Jesus gave ! XVII. "And the Lord was with Joseph." — Gen. xxxix. 2. The blue old Nile that welters soft and clear Through his own valley rich with flowers and song, Like a proud monarch lingering to hear His people's plaudits as he sweeps along ; The great old Nile has seen a youthful brow Such as his Pharaohs wear not, calm, and grave — - Has heard his swarthy children as they bow Cry " honour, honour," to the Hebrew slave. The merchantmen of Midian by the palm Of Dothan bought him, heedless of his grief; They sold him with the spicery and balm, By Memnon's snrine, to Pharaoh's warrior chief. 34 How oft from Egypt's prison towers gazing He dreamed of Shechem's pasture lands again, Of quiet herds in rain-dewed valleys grazing, And the green fig-tree on the tented plain ; Or when he watched the azure lotos gleam On the broad bosom of that famous river, Thought of the eyes that haunted, like a dream, His childhood's sleep, then passed away for ever ! But God was with him, in his master's hall, And when the false fair woman told her tale, And when like flowers unsunn'd that fade and fall, In the dim prison light, his cheek waxed pale ; And all things that he did in home,, and tower, The Lord God made to prosper in his hand, And raised him up, and clothed his head with power, And now he rides a ruler through the land. Shall Christian men forget when troubles press, "When pain afflicts, or grief, or unjust wrong, One that is with him in his worst distress, If but his heart be true, his faith be strong; — Who bringeth him to honour greater far Than aught of earthly state by Pharaoh given, Than purple vesture, or triumphal car, — The long, long life, the glory of high Heaven ? 35 Like a sick babe that with averted eye, Tosses unsoothed his little fevered head, Heedless of her who all night watches by, Wets the parched lip, and rocks the cradle bed ; So our hearts drooping deem themselves alone, And Christ Himself is with us all the while, Tempers our griefs, and loveth more His own, Than mother hanging o'er with patient smile. XVIII. Sfacab anti $Jf)araoI). " Few aud evil have the days of the years of my life been." -Gen. xlvii. 9. How rarely boyhood loves to paint In glowing tints his future bright, A picture where no line is faint — Whose very clouds are touched with light. And girlhood hails a world unknown And reads it in her own glad dreams, As lilies see themselves alone Reflected in their azure streams. But rosy clouds that morning brings, Ere noon may deepen into thunder — And life's dark stream has sterner things Than silver lilies growing under. 36 So had he found, the Patriarch old, Who, reckoning o'er by Pharaoh's chair His hundred years and thirty, told How evil, and how few they were. One lingering look he backward cast — Those long dim years lay steeped in gloom, And through the mist that wrapped the past He saw but shapes of sorrow loom. The parting of his youth was there, The cheated love in Leah's bower, The lingering toil, the long despair For Joseph lost in evil hour. And such a reckoning thine must be, When time shall disenchant thine eyes, Fond youth ! and life's reality Break on thee with a sad surprise. But not for this bright hope forego Or scant one glowing dream of pleasure, Though life shall never find below A cup to hold thy brimming measure. For thoughts of great and glorious things That move thy soul with inward force, Are but thy spirit's secret springs Uprising to their awful source. 37 The touches of a hand divine Still lingering on thy soiled face — Throbs in that deathless heart of thine That pants for its immortal place. Dream on ! but pitch thine hopes still higher, Like eagles soaring to the sun ; The wildest stretch of man's desire Can ne'er surpass what Christ has won. There, where for Him down sunless skies Eternal Hallelujahs stream — The truth of thine ideal lies, The substance of thy youthful dream. XIX. StotfcpJ) a Cgpe- "And sold Joseph to the Ishmeeiites for twenty pieces of silver." — Gen. xxxvii. 28. Sold by them that should have loved thee, Prisoner in the heathen's hand, Given by him that best had proved thee To the dungeon and the band : — From the land of flowers, and rain, Borne to Egypt's dewless plain, Leaving tent and pastoral dell And the sire that loved thee well, E 38 And the airs on upland breezy Where the scented cedars grow, For the servant's toil uneasy, And the captive's weary woe ; — Out of grief to honour risen, Winning rapture for thy pain, And a palace for thy prison, And a sceptre for thy chain; — Ruling with a gentle art Over many a grateful heart, Melting with a brother's love Those thine anguish could not move- Wearing graciously thy glory Through the land thy wisdom won — How should Christian read thy story, Aged Israel's favoured son ? As the little sapling tender Shows the great oak waving proud; As the cold lake burns with splendour From the crimson sunset-cloud ; So in sufferings of thine Trace we out a grief divine, And thy sorrows throb and glow With a pulse of heavenly woe ! Type thou art of One more holy Who His glory laid aside, Took the form of servant lowly, Stooped to suffering man, and died. 39 He was scorned, and sold, and hated By the men He came to save, With a cruel wrath unsated Followed to His three days' grave, — Not one pitying thought for Him, When His failing eye waxed dim, Not one note in sympathy With that love so full and free, "When His tender spirit yearning Wept those tears of Godlike grief O'er the lawless city, spurning Help, and safety, and relief. Now He reigneth high exalted Where the white-robed elders stand By the great throne rainbow-vaulted Each with golden harp in hand, Thousand thousand hearts adoring, Thousand thousand vials pouring Odours sweet of saintly prayers, That embalm those Heavenly airs, Round the Lamb once slain and wounded Breathing, till that awful hour, When by Heaven's high hosts surrounded He shall come again in power. For behind each image saintly Burns the light of Jestj's Name — As the lines lie dim and faintly In the gothic window frame, 40 Till the sunlight touch the pane, Rising o'er the fretted fane, And each form, and gorgeous hue, Starts to sight distinct, and true. So doth many a sin-stained creature Catch a glory from Christ's face, And a light is on his feature, That our eyes should love to trace. XX. $&o*t* on tyt &iU. 1 And she laid it in the flags by the river's brink." — Ex. ii. 3. Blow gently, wind ! beneath the moon Across the river wavelets bright : Make music like a cradle tune Into the mother's ear to-night ! Flow, father Nile ! unvexed by storm, And softly rock the bulrush ark, Nor whelm the little dainty form, — A lily on thy waters dark. Three months in secret on her breast The faithful mother nursed her boy, And as his smiling lip she press'd, She trembled with a fearful joy. x\nd now the dreaded hour is come, She tears him from her throbbing bosom, 41 She leaves him where the river foam Hangs white around the lotos-blossom. O, mother, when his eyes were shut Better thine hand had slain the child, Than give his delicate limbs to glut The river monsters fierce, and wild — Than leave to that remorseless stream The rounded form that all the night Lay in thy bosom, like a dream That haunts the sleeper with delight. Nay, but her heart is strong in faith, God's shield is o'er her infant spread. To her his eye a prescience hath, She sees the glory round his head. Dreams that shall visit her full oft, When baby-lips her bosom drain, And 'baby-touches' pressing soft Thrill to her mother's heart again. For lo ! the fated princess fair Comes duly to the water side : Her maids unbind her perfumed hair, And lead her to the sacred tide. She sees him, and her heart allows The claim for love and pity dear Writ on his innocent waxen brows, And speaking through his gushing tear. E 2 42 How many a mother o'er her child Has prayed, and feared, and trembled long. Deeming the world had waves as wild As that broad river rushing strong ! To her a holier hand has come, Her twice-born darling back has given f And bade her take the nursling home, And rear him up for God, and Heaven* We, precious charge from Jesus' hands! — We, for whom mother's prayers have gone Borne duly up by angel bands To linger round th' eternal throne £— See that our hearts be mindful still Of holy vow, and heavenly care — What but a child's rebellious will Can mar a faithful mother's prayer I XXL &lo*t* at tlje J3tu$. H And Moses said unto God, Who am I that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel ©ut of Egypt ?"— Ex. iii. 11. When thou hast read in tale or song, Some name that thrill'd along the line, Hast thou not wished his place were thine, Thyself as great and strong ? 43 Hast thou not dreamed of splendid fate, When twilight into night was dying, Over the bright red embers lying Like pictures in the grate ? And thought if Heaven had but decreed High place for thee in church or realm. How well thine hand would hold the helm, How wise would be thy deed ? Come, cast thy dreams of pride away, And rather learn of him who trod "With covered face, and foot unshod, By Horeb's mountain grey. He that was valiant, courtly, wise, Who knew all Egypt's lore by heart, The sage's dream, the poet's art, The language of the skies ; Yet had a soul within him, mild And meek withal as maiden's eyes, And modest as the blush that dyes The forehead of a child. He watched his flock, a lowly herd, Content to bear his people's shame — He saw the unconsuming flame, The voice divine he heard. 44 Then, with no proud self-conscious thrill Bounded his pulse, his heart beat high- Fearful, he answered, " Who am I That I should work Thy will ?" He trembled at that high command, As the eye shrinks from the full sun ; Wilt thou for trust and honour run, And stretch the eager hand ? Nay, pause awhile, and look within ; There commune with thy secret heart, And ponder well thine own desert, Thy weakness, and thy sin, The worthlessness of all thy worth ;— So shall thy soul find readier wings; The bird still higher soars, and sings Whose nest is nearest earth! The sunbeam comes to seek the flower, The dew drops down on her sweet face, Ev'n where she grows, in her own place, Garden, or wild wood bower. Rest thou, content in thine own spot, Serve God in quiet day by day, Nor seek for trust, nor sigh for sway, And He will bless thy lot. 45 XXII. " Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of Gon, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." — Heb. xi. 25. He dwelt in glory, where the light Fell soft by day in Pharaoh's halls ; And painted lamps the livelong night Flung ghostly shadows on the walls. All sounds were there of love and sport, Sweet song of lute, wild laughter ringing, The splash of fountains in the court, And birds in stately gardens singing. And cups, that on their earven ledge Bore shapes that seemed to hail with joy The wine that bubbled to their edge, Were proffered to the Hebrew boy. And wrinkled seers that hour by hour Traced starry dreams on silent stone — And wiser yet, to whom each power Of nature's secret things was known, — Came round him with their wisdom weird, And bade his sharpened reason soar Through shadowy realms, half known, half feared, And taught him all Egyptian lore. 46 But more he loved the scanty fare, The shepherd's toil by vale and hill, The wandering in the desert bare With one bright vision leading still. And other music set on fire His youthful soul, with cadence strong-^ Such strains as rushed from Miriam's lyre, Winged with prophetic words of song. Bather he chose to suffer woe With God's own people in the wild, Than wrapped around with regal show To bear the name of Pharaoh's child. O, blessed choice ! and such be ours — For better far some quiet place, AVhere simple men in lowly bowers Love God's great Name, and seek His face, Than joys mid hearts to folly given, Where pleasure drives the hours away, Without a thought of God or Heaven — Or dream that lasts beyond to-day ; Where world-wise men with scornful sneer, Tell of high deed, and holy word, O rather like that meek old seer, Our choice be those who love the Lord. 47 XXIII. Clje Plague* of ©gupt. " I will at this time send all My plagues upon thine heart.' -Ex. ix. 14. Child! when the silent voice within Shall whisper, " Thine intent is sin, That thing thou shalt not do," And holy text at morning said, Or when the evening sky grows red, Shall speak the warning true ; Scorn not the check by conscience given, Nor trifle with the voice of Heaven, That pleads and pleads again — Lest haply wilful in thy crime, There come at last an awful time When it shall plead in vain. For evil habit hardens ever, Like the cold wave of that dark river That touches into stone, And that young tender heart of thine At last may heed no warning line, May hear no pleading tone. Like the stern king on Egypt's coasts Who strove against the Lord of Hosts, And hardened still his heart, By fear and pride alternate swayed, While ten times striking Heaven delayed, And showed the better part. 48 The river rolled its blood-red billow — The child lay stricken on his pillow, By every house a grave, — And still he battled with remorse, Till cold, and stiff his swollen corse Lay on the lied- sea wave. More favoured thou by birth and name ! Fear lest thy judgment be the same ; This is thy day of grace. The sweet dove singeth in thine ear, The book of life is open near, Christ's touch is on thy face. Dread is it when the red right hand That smote of old the Egyptian land, Is lifted up in wrath — More dreadful still if He depart, And leave thee to a hardened heart, To shameless sin, and death. XXIV. " I have surely seen the affliction of My people which is in Egypt, and have heard their cry, and am come down to deliver them." — Ex. hi. 7, 8. There's many a quiet cottage laid Beneath some elm tree's giant shade, 49 Where oft at eve the speckled thrush Sings from the fragrant hawthorn bush, And rosy children run to greet Their weary sire's returning feet. Light hearts are theirs, untouched by woe, Love's lesson all the lore they know, — The father's hand to spread the board, The gentle mother's soothing word, The week-day's work, the Sunday strain Of sweet bells chiming down the lane. But deatb may dim the tender light In eyes that love made ever bright, Or sickness come to steal aw T ay The strength that laboured day by day, And need may count the lessening store Where frugal plenty reigned before. Who then shall dry the sufferer's tear O, Christian child ? what hope shall cheer ? Is there no mightier hand to aid If thy worn sire be lowly laid, No better sunshine than there lies Behind thy mother's love-lit eyes ? Yea, read how Israel wept of old By Pharaoh's hand to bondage sold. What though around their prison bowers The broad Nile swept his foam and flowers, F 50 What though their hands should rear a fane That wondering time would touch in vain, The voice of unrequited toil Rose day and night from that fair soil. The mother's anguish rent the sky For her fair son cast out to die, While the stern king unpitying gave The double task to gall the slave ; — But, while unmoved the tyrant heard, A mightier arm in Heaven was stirred, And while that burning southern sun Set hotly on their w r ork half-done, God's ear had heard their anguish strong, God's eye had seen His people's wrong. And lo ! like breezes that have lain Asleep on the Atlantic main, And come at even wandering o'er To cool some fainting tropic shore, From lonely Jethro's mountain-home, They see the great deliverer come. Thee too He hears when hunger weeps, When love keeps watch where sickness sleeps, Yea, ev'n beside the new-earthed grave, Thy great Deliverer waits to save. Trust but His love, and seek His care ; He never spurns His children's prayer ! 51 XXV. €ty $igi)t of tfje $a<^o&n\ "It is a night to be much observed unto the Lord, for bringing them out from the land of Egypt." — Ex. xii. 42. It is a night to be remembered much Unto the Lord, through Israel's hosts for aye, When the destroying Angel by the couch Of Egypt's fairest children, — as they lay Wrapt in their rosy slumber — paused to slay. A night of gladness, and of horror dread, Of eager gatherings, and of wild despair, — In Pharaoh's hall his eldest born lay dead, And the old King rose up, and tore his hair, And bade the people forth ere morn lit up the air. Then were there rapturous thrills, and sudden starts, A tremulous stir in every household band, — And mothers bound their babies to their hearts, And aged men stood up with staff in hand, Whispering young children of the promised land. For through that solemn eye the young lambs dying Had bleated out their sweet lives while they bled, As a child sings itself to sleep with crying : 52 By every hearth the victim blood was shed, On every board the hasty feast was spread. And many a group stood girt for sudden flight, And many a sandalled foot was on the floor, And many a face looked out into the night, Where the destroying angel passing o'er Cast a bright shadow on the blood-stained door. Now rich with Egypt's golden spoils they go Forth in that broken midnight, through the jar, Like a great river that with even flow, Sweeps on the same 'neath sun and clouded star, To its great sea that roars and raves afar. Go forth, ye chosen heirs of Canaan's coasts, With your loins girded, and your sandalled shoon ; Lo ! with your banners fights the Lord of Hosts, And brighter far than yon red orient moon, The fiery pillar makes a sunless noon. And was that glorious night alone for ye Sons of the Jew ? Is there no thought that swells The Christian heart — no Paschal memory, Borne yearly where the northern peasant dwells, On the quick chimes of merry Easter bells ? 53 Yea, for us too th' unblemished lamb was wounded, For us th' unleavened feast is duly set — "VYe stand with staff in hand by foes surrounded, Bound for a golden Canaan fairer yet Than that sweet land with milk and honey wet. Yea, the destroying Angel has passed o'er, The blood is on the lintels of our heart, Else how from this Egyptian bondage sore, That weighs us down, and makes our tears to start, Should we rise up like pilgrims and depart ? Come Paschal thoughts, and soothe us with sweet calm, Oft as we linger o'er the wondrous tale Of those great mysteries — fragrant as the balm Of last year's roses, that all cold and pale Sleep in their vase, yet precious scents exhale. Haunt us, sweet Paschal thoughts ! but lead us not Back to the lamb, that died that marvellous night, Staining the door-post with a crimson spot, But to the Lamb Who died on Calvary's height, Whose death redeemed, Whose blood shall wash us white. f2 54 XXVI, €ty 5&ett &ta< u And the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong' east vrind all that night, and made the sea dry land."— Ex. xiv. 2 J. O, sea ! that with thy tinted waves, Now purple dark, now ocean green, Now azure with a silver sheen, Dost cover o'er so many graves— As hoarse and dark thy billow raves, What wonders hath it seen ! What tales are on thine iron tongue, That clangs against its rocky coasts The death knell of so many hosts, Of many a gallant heart unstrung — Tales — some to sweeter music sur^~ Than aught Parnassus boasts. I ask thee not of navies proud, Whose oars have swept thy waters brown, With golden spoils from Indian town ; I ask not 'neath thy thunder cloud How oft the shriek rose sharp and loud, As shipwrecked men went down. 55 But tell me rather of the day When Israel's hosts stood by thy shore, And saw thy swelling waves before, Behind, proud Egypt's stern array, And cried aloud in wild dismay, Till the Lokd led them o'er. Then smitten by that marvellous blast, They saw the unfathomed waters shrink Back from the wild sea's rocky brink ; And down where never line was cast, Mid fretted stones, and weeds they pass'd, And shells of delicate pink. The trembling women held their breath, The men looked up with curdled blood, Where that great wall of waters stood Foam-tipped, like mountains with a wreath Of virgin snow, all blue beneath, As they walked through the flood. They saw the monarch mad with wrath, And all his glittering squadrons sweep, — Chariots, and captains, from the steep, Their horse's flanks were flecked with froth, As they rode down the perilous path, Into the dry sea-deep ; — Then closed at once the cloven water Over the leader and his host— The meeting surges raged and toss'd, 56 Above that bloodless field of slaughter— And sang in triumph Amram's daughter O'er horse and rider lost. Or whisper in thy gentlest tone, When airs at even fan thy sea From balmy-breathing Araby, And long soft ripples murmuring on Heave thy blue bosom, and are gone, Of what thou art to me. Type of that pure baptismal tide, Where I went down a child unshriveti ; Ere yet my soul with ill had striven, When the first taint of birth sin died Like Pharaoh, and his bannered pride, And I came forth forgiven. Ah me ! the great Egyptian lies, Wild sea ! full many a fathom deep, Till Christ shall break the sinner's sleep But sins and follies round me rise Staining baptismal purities — I can but turn, and weep. But that deep under song of thine Still rolls to Miriam's measure high, Hymning a glorious victory ; It tells a mightier arm than mine, A conquering grace, a strength divine, Lest my soul in me die. 57 XXVII. Cf)e Camp at (£ltm. "And they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees, and they encamped there by the waters."— Ex. xv. 27. Rest, weary Israel, rest awhile Where green the feathery palm-trees grow, And nestling in their lonely isle The twelve sweet fountains sleep below. Best, where no sound of foes assailing Shall bid thine heart throb high with fear, No echo of the Red sea wailing Shall come to vex thy startled ear : But where the long day lingering bright Shall see thy snowy tents uprise, And silent stars shall wake by night To watch them with their golden eyes. Where spicy plants that dwell apart Shall wrap thee round with odorous balms And sweetest quiet fill thine heart By the clear wells, beneath the palms. Past is the Red sea's perilous hour — The desert path is scarcely trod — Not yet the marvellous manna shower Lies like white daisies on the sod. 58 Not yet to quench thy fiery thirst The rock hath given its fountain free — Here with furled banners linger first Betwixt the desert and the sea. Betwixt thy childhood and thy youth Christian, there lies a sweeter calm, Where thou may'st drink the well of truth, And lie beneath Hope's shadowy palm. The sea is pass'd, the desert near, Where thou shalt walk with manna fed, Scarce trodden yet the path of fear, Not yet for thee the feast is spread ; But parents' love, and pastoral word, And studious hours are all thine own ; And prayers at morn and even heard, Make sweet thy desert island lone, Fill with rich balms thy lowly place — A time for rest and strengthening given. Ere shadowing hands shall bring thee grace For the long strife that leads to Heaven. Oft when the pillared cloud looks dim That guides thee o'er that pathless track, A thought, a text, a holy hymn, Shall lead thy spirit wandering back. 59 Dreaming how good these hours have been, How sweet thy resting by the way, Where Elim's palms grew fresh and green, And Elim's cooling waters lay. XXVIII. Cije ;JManna in tfje roitttrncas. *' And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold upon the lace of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost upon the ground." — Ex. xvi. 14. The long low streaks of crimson lay Fringing the level sands, As night was blushing into day O'er Israel's pilgrim bands. Hot went the fiery sun below — Red-hot he comes again, Then what is this like beaded snow That whitens all the plain ? Never from distant Sinai's height The frost-wind wandering here Hath bound in silver fetters bright The desert parched and drear. 60 Never as gentle as a kiss The snow flakes falling round Dropped on its breast — then what is this, Like hoar frost on the ground ? Haste, Israel ! press the measure down, Ere yonder sun have power, To melt the desert's crystal crown — This is God's manna-shower. We, to that unreaped harvest drawn, Come watch their labours gay, Who gather, 'neath the fragrant dawn, Their sweet food day by day. Our careless lips say day and night, " Give us our daily bread," How little dream we of the might That erst the manna shed- The times of old bright pictures bring, We give them little heed — That clamouring host, that small white thing Like coriander seed, Found, though they never saw it fall, When the dew left the land — Are precious types to us, to all, Of God's sustaining hand; — 61 Are types of faith in Christ above That day by day returns, Hangs on the fulness of His love, Receives but ever yearns ; Of grace that feeds our inward part Renewed but still the same, The small thing leavening all the heart, We saw not when it came. They sought each morn their measure sweet The food their Lord had given — Come we each day to Jesus' feet, And find the bread of Heaven ! XXIX. Wl)t Vittovv obex SmaUfe. m And it came to pass when Moses held up his hand that Israel prevailed." — Ex. xvii. 11. On red Rephidim's battle plain The banners sank and rose again ; The tumult of the wild affray Rolled round to Horeb's mountain grey, Rolled down to thirsty Meribah, As Israel's host swept past, And Amalek's fierce battle-cry Came surging up the blast. 62 Above the strife the leader hung With hands upraised, and suppliant tongue, And still his wearied arm was stayed, And still the unceasing prayer was prayed, Till evening held the setting sun Wrapt in her mantle pale, And Amalek, and all his host Rushed routed down the vale. Then ask us not why day by day The same sweet morning prayers we say, Why night by night our evensong Peals in the same soft strain along, Why children seek the mother's knee At eve to lisp their prayer, While lingers rosy-fingered sleep O'er their fringed eyelids fair. Nor say u ye vex God's patient ear, And vain the strains that linger here — A soulless form, a weary round, A cry that hath no echoing sound, — Ye hear no voice, — ye see no sign — Adown Heaven's crystal stair, No white-robed angels gliding bring An answer to your prayer." Nay, but God loves the constant cry, He wills the words should never die That speak our needs — Prayer pushes prayer Up into Heaven's sublimer air, 63 There round the throne eternally They pass, and still repass — Our whispers are the airs that breathe Above the sea of glass. Within His temple shrine of old He bade the Priests their watches hold ; Still through the carven cedar flowers The deep chant swelled at solemn hours, Still day by day the incense burning Crushed out its odours sweet, Still, morn and eve, the lamps were lighted Before the mercy-seat. And Nature with her quiet force Of powers that keep their ordered course, And circle on we know not why Doth teach a hidden rule more high ; The dews may drop to feed the earth But why should planets glow ? Why should the golden daisy cups Look yearly from below ? Yet night by night, so calmly pale The stars through Heaven's blue ocean sail, Yet year by year like scattered beads The wild flowers come to deck our meads. All have their places and their parts In Heaven's sublime decrees, And words that seem to wander wide Shall find their end like these. 64 A fiercer foe have we to check Than Israel's dreaded Amalek, And our dear Church hath many a charm To prompt the lip, and nerve the arm — Service, and psalm, and litany, Strong prayer, and solemn rite — Like Aaron holding up the hands That wearied on the height. XXX. jflftount i?mat. " Go unto the people, and sanctify them to-day and to-mor- row, and let them wash their clothes, and be ready against the third day, for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai." — Ex. xix. 10, 11. Not to that lonely mountain brown Where the thick cloud was rent asunder, And the trump rang, and rolled the thunder, As the Lord God came down. Not to that mountain with its bound, Where God's own finger wrote the law, And trembling with an intense awe The people waited round. Not to that temple in the wild Where lingered the Lord's presence high, Which whoso touched must surely die, We bid thee, Christian child ! 65 Bat sanctify thy soul even now, And let thy robe be clean and white, The same we gave when for the fight We crossed thy baby brow. Behold ! the Mount where we are come, — An awful, holy, glorious spot ! — Though there the smoke ascendeth not, The trumpet'3 voice is dumb. A cross is on that wondrous mount, A place of love, and yet of pain, And we may touch, and touch again, And wash in mercy r s fount. The city all of precious stone Is there with jasper girded bright, That hath for light by day and night, The living God alone. Twixt earth and heaven that city waits, And up and down bright angels pass Between us, and the sea of glass, Us, and the pearly gates. There are the spirits of the just, Sweet saints that loved us long ago, For whom our poor hearts sorrowed so When they were laid in dust : H 66 The holy men of every time, Martyrs to whom the world was loss, And gentle souls who bore the cross Unmarked in many a clime : And Jesus too, our own high Priest, No Moses with the tables twain, Shivered in anger on the plain, Sprinkling with blood of beast — The Mediator that hath stood Between us, and God's angry face, Sealing the covenant of grace "With His own precious Blood. Come wash thee in that crimson tide, And make thy garment white as snow, And let us to that mountain go, And linger at its side ! Sweet is our high communion there, — The fellowship of Saints is ours, The hope of Heaven's angelic bowers, And Chkist's own presence fair.